Manyikeni and Chibuene

Date of Submission: 15/09/1997
Criteria: (iii)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Department of Monuments
Coordinates: Manyikeni: Lat. 22°14'00" S ; Long. 34°48'30" E Chibuene: Lat. 22°02'00" S ; Long. 35°19'30" E
Ref.: 919

The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party


Manykeni is a Zimbabwe tradition regional centre of the second millennium AD. The site comprises a stone wall enclosure and surrounding settlement situated about 52 km west of Vilanculos in south-central Mozambique.

The relevance of Manykeni is the relationship between the interior and the coast. Manyikeni was a town belonging to a state which capital was located at Great Zimbabwe, within the Zimbabwe Tradition complex. -

Evidence of exchange - A range of finds from Manyikeni indicate outside contacts and the relative distribution of these finds in a site which is clearly spatially differentiated is of considerable interest.

A considerable collection of glass beads has been made at the site. In general, many more beads were recovered from the enclosure area than outside and this is reflected in the occurence of gold which was only found on the enclosure platform. A single find of a iron gong from a midden close to the enclosure indicates the possibility of contact with the interior; similar gongs are reported from a number of Zimbabwean sites. Widespread finds of sea shells indicate contact with the coast This contact was possibly made through Chibuene, a coastal shellmidden, located only some 50 km away from Manyikeni. Glazed pottery is rare with a single surface find of green celadon and one fragment of the more recent blue and white chinese porcelain.

Chibuene is a coastal trading station of the late first and early second millennium AD.

The site is situated very close to the seashore 5 km south of Vilanculos (c 700 km north of Maputo) southern Mozambique.

Evidence for exchange - Chibuene is undoubtably the site richest in exotic objects yet found on the coast of Mozambique and being c 250 km south of Sofala document most interesting ocurrence of early trade goods, particularly in

view of recent evidence for social differentiation and the -ocurrence of considerable quantities of exotic goods at Bambandyanalo and Schroda in the Limpopo valley from c 850 AD onwards. Numerous fragments of imported Islamic glazed wares and glass beads and bottle fragments have been recovered in the lower occupation. The early radiocarbon dates that the imports from the lower occupation are all earlier than c 1000 AD underline the importance of the site. The presence of these imported goods at Chibuene well south of Sofala indicates that the southern Mozambique coast was integrated at an early stage into the Indian Ocean trade network. Crucibles, one certainly used for melting down gold were recovered from upper occupation. Loose globules of gold were found as well. The most obvious source for gold is of course the Zimbabwe plateau.